Providers and equipment
Daily venue operations are done differently around the World. In Europe many Nordic venues are operated by volunteer organizations/ski clubs or in a partnership between the municipality and a ski club. Larger venues or commercial venues are operated by professional staff. In Norway, almost all Nordic venues are free to use (no cost), while alpine venues are operated on a commercial basis alike in most other countries.
Due to the large variations in operational professionalism and budgets, the type and level of operational investment and equipment, as well as use of external services and providers, is varied (especially for Nordic venues). Below is a list of companies and providers that provide expertise and equipment for ski venues and operators (the list will be updated).
The following companies provide design, installation and services for traditional snow production systems and temperature-independent systems, as well as equipment (snowfans, lances, hoses, software solutions for automation, etc):
Spesialists in temperature-independent systems:
Worldwide there are two main providers of large grooming machines, Pistenbully/Kassbohrer and Prinoth. Other national brands can be found in some countries (for example Finland).
Smaller grooming attachments for Nordic skiing (for pulling behind a snowmobile):
Snowmobile providers can be found in every snow covered country. Snowmobiles are used for venue operations as well as for Nordic grooming. For grooming purposes, the snowmobile should be a utility-type snowmobile with wide and “flat” belts. The machines should optimally be air-cooled due to the low operational speed. Popular models are: Ski-doo Skandic WT or SWT and Yamaha VK. The stongest (but most expensive) snowmobile for grooming is the Alpina Sherpa.
The main equipment or material needed for snow storage is the cover material itself; sawdust, wood chips or geotextile cloth. Geotextile cloth can be purchased at major hardware stores or specialty stores. The main provider for geotextile used for snow storage projects in Europe is Edilfloor (https://edilfloor.com/en/).
In Norway and Sweden, Geosyntia AS (www.geosyntia.no) has provided products for several snow storage sites.
Additionally, miscellanous heavy machines (loader, trucks, dozer, etc) will be needed for the covering and removal process.
Preservation of snow
Both sea-salt and fertilizers can be used for “hardening” of soft snow. These products are most easily available at agriculture equipment providers/stores. These providers typically also sell spreaders that can be attached to the back of a snowmobile and connected to the battery for mechanical controls. A few World Cup and summer-ski venues have also mounted standard road salt spreaders on their grooming machine.
When handling salt or fertilizers it is important to buy and use rubber gloves.